Saturday, 17 October 2009

What future for Staropramen?

The future of the leading Czech beer Staropramen has been brought into question following the sale of the brewery by AB InBev. As a result of the merger in 2008 between Anheuser-Busch and InBev, the group has sought to reduce a debt burden of USD52bn. It has gone some way to reducing the debt by selling its European business to the London-based CVC Capital Partners for USD3.03bn ((GBP1.87bn).
CVC will acquire brands and breweries in nine countries, including Hungary, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Rumania.
The main brand that will be owned by CVC is Staropramen, the "Old Spring" brewery based in Prague. Following the collapse of the communist regime, Staropreman was bought by the British Bass group, which sold it on to InBev. Bass invested heavily in the plant, building a new, modern brewhouse and adding new fermenting capacity. Staropramen has become a regular imported lager beer in Britain as a result.
CVC announced, when it signed the deal with AB InBev, that it plans to turn Staropramen into an international brand. As the group will have brewing plant in nine countries, the announcement suggests that if Staropramen does become a big player on the international beer stage then it may well be brewed under licence in other countries as well as in Prague.
This has already happened to Pilsner Urquell, the first golden Pilsner beer, now owned by SABMiller and brewed under licence in Poland and Russia. This makes a nonsense of a name that means "original source of Pilsner".
InBev did plan at one stage to brew Staropramen under licence in Britain but the plans were abandoned when it was revealed that the British version would have a much shorter fermentation time and would use malt syrup to bulk out the grain. CVC may be less fastidious if it brews the beer in Eastern Europe.


Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

Rule number one in beer drinking.

Never drink beer brewed under licence. I have NEVER found one the same as the original.

Support small local breweries.

25 October 2009 at 07:26  

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